WASHINGTON — U.S. Special Operations Command has picked California-based Anduril Industries to lead its counter-drone systems integration work in a $1 billion deal, according to a contract announcement and company statement.
As the integration partner, “Anduril will deliver, advance and sustain [counter-unmanned systems] capabilities for special operations forces wherever they operate,” the Jan. 24 company statement read.
Anduril’s family of systems designed to counter drone threats is run by the Lattice operating system and includes its Sentry tower and the small unmanned aerial system Anvil. The system also brings in “best-of-breed” third-party sensors and effectors “for a layered defensive approach,” according to the company.
The Lattice system is able to provide autonomous detection, classification and tracking of targets at the edge of the battlefield and alerts users to the detected threats. It also prompts users with solutions to engage and destroy the threats, the company described.
The Sentry tower is comprised of an onboard radar and optical sensors within embedded computing cores that can process data through machine-learning algorithms to detect, identify and track threats.
Anduril said it will deliver capability through “traditional means,” but will also deploy the capability as a service and configure the system to carry out specific missions as threats evolve or new threats emerge. And under the contract, it must design, prototype and develop new counter-UAS technology.
“Anduril’s software-first approach and its open and interoperable Lattice operating system enables sensor modularity and massive scalability,” the statement said. “As the SIP, Anduril will maintain continuous system updates, develop and deploy new capability, and integrate best-in-class third-party sensors and effectors, future-proofing deployed systems at no additional cost to the customer.”
Under the SOCOM contract, Anduril will perform the work both within and outside of the continental United States. The contract is expected to be completed by Jan. 19, 2032, according to the Defense Department contract announcement.
Eleven other proposals were received in response to a publicly posted SIP, or system integration partner, prototype opportunity notice.
The company has other contracts within the Defense Department and with other national security-related customers.
Anduril has also adapted existing technology developed for base and border protection over the course of 11 months so it could detect another major threat: cruise missiles. The company demonstrated the capability at the Air Force’s Advanced Battle Management System demonstration in 2021 using autonomous Cruise Missile Defense Sentry Towers. The towers were integrated into the company’s Lattice open-platform command-and-control system like they are for the c-UAS capability
Anduril also grew its capability portfolio in April 2021 with the acquisition of Area-I, a Georgia-based, air-launched effects company, with plans to incorporate its mission autonomy and intelligent teaming technology into Area-I’s unmanned systems.
Jen Judson is an award-winning journalist covering land warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kenyon College.